India’s leading opposition party, the Indian National Congress (INC), and the ruling BJP are currently at loggerheads, with the former accusing the ruling party of covering up a multi-million dollar scam involving Bitcoin in the southern state of Karnataka.
Accusations Of A Cover-up
The Congress organized a press conference on Saturday, with Randeep Surjewala, one of the party’s official spokesperson, accusing the BJP government, currently in power in Karnataka, of covering up the scam. He also asked the Chief Minister, Basavaraj Bommai, to reveal the names of those involved in the fraud.
Surjewala stated in his press conference,
“This is a case of intrigue, whitewash, concealment, and deception smack of a deep-rooted conspiracy. It is India’s biggest-ever ‘Bitcoin Scam Cover Up’ under the Karnataka BJP government. Instead of conducting a fair investigation, the BJP Government of Karnataka appears to be preoccupied with a cover-up.”
The comments came after several leaders from the Congress accused the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, of dropping the investigation and allegedly asking the Chief Minister Bonmai not to worry about the investigation.
A Proper Investigation Required
The former chief minister of Karnataka and senior Congress leader, Siddaramaiah tweeted about the scam, asking for an unbiased investigation into the scam and bring those involved to book, stating,
“Instead of asking @CMofKarnataka to investigate & prove the innocence, how is it correct for @PMOIndia to tell him to ignore the allegations? Can Prime Minister unilaterally decide what he wants? We don’t know if Bommai is involved in the Bitcoin scam or not. All we are asking is to investigate it properly & punish the guilty. Why is Narendra Modi asking CM to ignore?”
Details Of The Scam
The scam originated in 2019 and was discovered after Bengaluru’s crime branch arrested a hacker by the name of Srikrishna. As the police began their investigation, they discovered that Srikrishna was also the individual behind the hacking of the state government’s E-procurement portal. During the hack, Srikrishna managed to siphon off $1.3 million.
Srikrishna also confessed to being behind the hack of Bitfinex in 2016, stealing 2000 Bitcoin, according to the statement released by Congress. The police claimed to have recovered 31 BTC from Srikrishna but later retracted the claim, stating the BTC was never transferred out of the wallet.
The Congress questioned the role of the Chief Minister, who was the home minister of Karnataka when the scam occurred.
“How many Bitcoins and of what value were transferred? How does the Bengaluru police then suggest (in its third Panchnama dated 22nd January 2021) that the 31 & 186 Bitcoins allegedly transferred to the police wallet were lost or were found to be fake transactions.”
Possible Bitcoin Transfer
Congress also asked the government to investigate if the hacker had moved the coins stolen from Bitfinex when he was in custody, and if he did, who the recipients were. The Congress spokesperson cited “Whale Alerts,” a Twitter-based tracker of crypto transactions, that had a record of a transfer of 14,682 stolen BTC from Bitfinex on 1st December. Meanwhile, members of the ruling party maintained that all accusations of the involvement of BJP leaders in the scam are baseless and should be treated as rumors.
Disclaimer: This article is provided for informational purposes only. It is not offered or intended to be used as legal, tax, investment, financial, or other advice.